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Bad Ol' Badger

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They put the "bad" in "badger".

Dr. Bobtail: Badger?
Mrs. Bobtail: No, warm. We're having carrots and celery.
Dr. Bobtail: But I mean I smell badger!
The Tale of Mr Tod (2012 movie)

In regards to mustelids being portrayed in pop culture, weasels are normally crafty and sneaky and skunks (which, along with stink badgers, are actually mephitids) are smelly. When it comes to vicious and downright aggressive, that's where badgers come in. While badgers have had both positive and negative portrayals, the negatives tend to be a lot more harsher than with weasels and skunks. This could be due to farmers' view of them, since badgers can be a predator to small livestock. Not to mention their appearance can somewhat be intimidating to a lot of people.

Most of the time (but not always) villainous badgers tend to be elderly, though badgers of all ages can still be vilified. At best they are a Grumpy Bear or a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and at worst they are straight up savage and dangerous. A Grumpy Bear badger is usually territorial and will only attack if one trespasses its environment whereas a savage badger will intentionally try to harm others, usually animals it preys on or smaller than itself. Usually the most common adversary for a badger villain to go up against are foxes and sometimes rabbits (though some forms of fiction have them getting along just fine, see The Animals of Farthing Wood).

Honey badgers tend to be portrayed more viciously than American and European badgers due to their similarities with wolverines and, much like raccoons are said to also contain rabies. In fact, while American and European badgers have their good portrayals you'll be lucky if you find at least a few good honey badgers.

Compare with Wicked Weasel and Bears Are Bad News.


Examples

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     Films - Animated 
  • Mr. Digger, the badger from The Fox and the Hound, who is shown to be a cantankerous Grumpy Bear and isn't very friendly, especially towards Tod.
  • Friar Tuck is depicted as a badger in the Disney version of Robin Hood. Mostly an aversion of usual portrayals of the species, yet has a Beware the Nice Ones moment when he fights the Sheriff of Nottingham for taking from the church's poor box.
  • Gupta from Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, one of Captain Gutt's minions. He is pretty vicious fighter and he even has the traiditional pirate "skull and bones" flag on his back.

     Literature 
  • Tommy Brock from The Tale of Mr Tod, who is the arch enemy of the protagonist and kidnaps rabbit children to eat them.
  • In the Roger McGough poem Badgers and Goodgers, badgers are described as nocturnal thugs, vandals and child-eaters, and are Always Chaotic Evil counterparts to an Always Lawful Good species called the goodgers, who are charitable hippies with pure white fur. When a string of disasters hits the forest, the goodgers starve themselves to extinction as they try to care for the other animals that have suffered, and the nature spirit Pan anoints the black fur of the badgers with a white stripe in memory of their cousins.
  • Badger from The Wind in the Willows is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, gruff in manner but noble and loyal to his friends. He is, however, villified in universe, with the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue revealing that woodland mothers threatened their children with him, quite unjustly.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Cats are the top predators of the forest. Aside from kits being taken by foxes or eagles or humans invading their territory, the only real threats they have are other cats or natural things beyond their control. Badgers are an exception to the rule. They rarely appear but are dangerous to even the most skilled warriors.
    • One of the climactic events of Warrior Cats: The New Prophecy is the badgers who were displaced when the eponymous cats moved to 'their' lake forming into an army and attacking them.
    • Subverted with one badger named Midnight. She has learned to speak the language of cats and is generally a neutral character.
  • Redwall:
    • Plays this both ways. Badgers have a longer lifespan than most other woodland creatures so they can become much older and wiser, and they're larger and stronger so they also make some of the greatest warriors. Because of this, a badger is always the Big Good of Salamandastron. That said, they also are the creatures most likely to suffer from Bloodwrath, a disease that turns fighters into mindless killing machines in battle, and are habitually violent and ruthless, making them the most dangerous of the "good guy" species.
    • Averted by the good-natured and motherly Constance the Badger. However, she is also a major example of Beware the Nice Ones and Good Is Not Soft, as evidenced by the time she responded to Cluny the Scourge's ultimatum by lifting a table and threatening to flatten him with it.
  • Harry Potter: Double subverted with Hufflepuff House. Hufflepuff's Animal Motif is a badger and the house itself values hard work and strong bonds (although there was a time when it was demoted to "miscellaneous" but fortunately that didn't last), so you'd assume that badgers were chosen because they're cute. But Word of God reveals that the real reason is that badgers, though genuinely cute and unassuming, will also get downright vicious when those they care about are placed in harm's way. It fits the house like a glove.

     Live-Action TV 

     Other 
  • The verb "to badger" means to annoy or harass someone by repeatedly asking the same question, which also adds to the negative perception of badgers.

     Theater 
  • The opera The Cunning Little Vixen by Leo Janáek had a badger who was rather snobby and did not allow the vixen to share his den with her on during harsh winter weather forcing the vixen to drive him out and take the den for herself.

     Video Games 
  • The video game version of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit has enemies that include Were-Badgers, which are the strongest and toughest enemies in the game. Though they were simply normal badgers supposedly taken by Victor who turns them into Were-Badgers using Wallace's Mind-O-Matic along with other animals.
  • Far Cry 4 has a mission that requires you to kill and skin a unique honey badger. The mission repeatedly asks you to confirm that you are insane enough to attempt it. When you get to the mission site you'll see a man fleeing in terror and numerous dead animals that were presumably killed by the honey badger, including a rhino. In Far Cry Primal, a tamed badger will scare off all other animals (except snakes). Badgers are also the only animal that will bite Takkar if he attempts to pet one.
  • The villainous implications are averted by Horace of Armello; Horace is a former knight who is trying to kill the rot-maddened king as a Mercy Kill. However, his play style is still very fitting for a badger: he chooses a destination, he makes his way there, and he doesn't care what tries to stop him.

     Webcomics 
  • Played straight in some of the strips of Sabrina Online with a mugger who is a badger. His first appearance has him trying to mug both Sabrina and RC but the couple were able to escape after Sabrina sprays him in the face. However he would return in later strips where he almost murders Sabrina and is later physically attacked by Sabrina's boss Zig Zag and arrested.

     Web Video 
  • Played straight by The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger, a dubbed-over nature video that frames the honey badger as a brazen, violent psychopath.

     Western Animation 
  • Bix Badger from The Raccoons, a rather arrogant motorcycle racer.
  • In the TaleSpin episode "The Balooest of the Bluebloods" one of the antagonists is Hans, a badger who teams up with an opossum Helga to murder the Von Bruinwalds so they could claim their inheritance.
  • The badger from The New Woody Woodpecker Show who is a recurring character. He is shown as very aggressive and vicious. His appearance should be enough to see that.
    "Hiya buddy."
  • In The Simpsons episode "A Tale of Two Springfields", Homer is attacked by a badger who has taken over Santa's Little Helper's doghouse. At the end of the episode, a horde of badgers descend on an unsuspecting Springfield.
  • Hector McBadger from Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks who is The Bully of the show, even appearing as an antagonist in some episodes. Though he is shown to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, like the episode where he returned a lamb to its mother.
  • In an episode of Futurama, there's a weapon designed by Benjamin Franklin called a "Franklinator". It's a badger on a stick (except for Fry's; he has a chipmunk).
  • Sonic Boom:
    • Averted with Sticks the Badger. Sticks is a feral badger who, despite being paranoid, loopy, and none too fond of the government, regularly helps Sonic and his friends save Hedgehog Village from Dr. Eggman.
    • In the episode, "Unnamed Episode", it is revealed that the Unnamed Village used to be named Badgerville, after Sticks' great-great grandfather, Jebediah Badger. Jebediah held ownership over Badgerville and used his influence to gain power through corruption of the system, forcing people out of their homes to develop on their land and expand his fortune. Eventually, the villagers rebelled and chased Jebediah away. Since Sticks is the great-great granddaughter of Jebediah, the villagers shunned her despite the fact that she saves them on a regular basis. When it is revealed that Jebediah never relinquished ownership of the Unnamed Village, Sticks inherits it, uses it to stop one of Dr. Eggman's plans, and restore her reputation, renaming the Unnamed Village "Hedgehog Village" after her friend, Amy.
  • The Lion Guard averts this Bunga the honey badger, who is one of the main heroes as well as one of the friendliest characters in the show. A rare example in which a honey badger is portrayed in a good light.

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